A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Hemans, Felicia Dorothea

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Hemans, Felicia Dorothea (BROWNE) (1793-1835). -- Poetess, dau. of a Liverpool merchant, who, owing to reverses, retired to North Wales. While yet little more than a child she pub. her first poems, the reception of which was not encouraging. In the same year, 1808, a further publication appeared which drew a letter from Shelley. Her first important work, The Domestic Affections, appeared in 1812, in which year she was m. to Captain Hemans, an Irish officer. The union, however, was not a happy one, and her husband practically deserted her and her five sons in 1818. Her literary activity was continued during the whole of her short life, and her works include, The Vespers of Palermo, a drama, which was not successful, The Forest Sanctuary (1826), her best poem, Records of Woman, Lays of Leisure Hours, Songs of the Affections, Hymns for Childhood, and Thoughts during Sickness (1834), her last effort. In 1829 she visited Scotland, where she was the guest of Scott, who held her in affectionate regard. She also enjoyed the friendship of Wordsworth. Always somewhat delicate, her health latterly entirely gave way, and she d. of a decline in 1835. Her shorter pieces enjoyed much popularity, and still, owing to their grace and tenderness, retain a certain place, but her long poems are lacking in energy and depth, and are forgotten.